Standardization at the application platform layer enables specialization of infrastructure resulting in greater economy of scale

In all versions of Dungeons and Dragons there is a nifty arcane spell for wizards called “Mirror Image.” What this nifty spell does is duplicates an image of the imagewizard. This is useful because it’s really hard for all those nasty orcs, goblins, and bugbears to tell which image is the real one. Every image does exactly what the “real” wizard does. The wizard is not impacted by the dismissal of one of the images; neither are the other images impacted by the dismissal of  other images. Each one is exactly the same and yet each one is viewed by its opponents as individuals entities. An illusion, of course, but an effective one.

In the past an “application” has been a lot like that wizard. It’s a single entity, albeit one that might be comprised of several tiers of functionality. cloud computing – specifically its ability to enable scale in an elastic manner - changes that dramatically, making an “application” more like a wizard plus all his mirror images than a single entity. This is the epitome of standardization at the platform layers and what ultimately allows infrastructure to specialize and achieve greater economies of scale.